Drug and cryptocurrency seizure

Information from Australian Border Force (ABF) resulted in detectives from WA Police Force’s Drug & Firearm Squad – Meth Transport Team charging two people in relation to the attempted importation of MDMA, and seizing over $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrency.

On Thursday 31 October 2019, ABF officers screening international mail at the Perth Gateway Facility detected 27.5g of MDMA tablets and 27.5g of MDMA powder in a package sent from the United Kingdom, and which was destined for the Perth metropolitan area.

It will be alleged the drugs were concealed in a children’s toy painting kit.

ABF officers alerted Australian Federal Police and WA Police Force to the discovery and detectives from WA Police Force’s Meth Transport Team commenced an investigation. Detectives executed a search warrant at a residence in Charing Crescent, Marangaroo.

It will be alleged a search of the property located several items consistent with those used to sell or supply Cannabis.

A 27-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were arrested.

As part of the investigation by the Meth Transport Team an electronic device that was seized during the search warrant was examined by officers from Technology Crime Services, and $1,524,102 worth of cryptocurrency was located.

With the assistance of the Proceeds of Crime Squad the cryptocurrency asset has been frozen, pending the outcome of the court process.

The man and woman have both been charged with:

•Attempted Possession of Drugs with Intent to Sell or Supply (MDMA)

•Possession of Prohibited Drugs with Intent to Sell or Supply (Cannabis)

They were refused bail and appeared in the Joondalup Magistrates Court on Thursday 7 November 2019 (first appearance), and Wednesday 20 November 2019, and are next due to appear in the Joondalup Magistrates Court today, Wednesday 4 December 2019.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Matthews, Officer in Charge of the Drug & Firearm Squad, said the cryptocurrency seizure is believed to be the highest value seizure of its kind made by WA Police Force.

“While WA Police Force has seized millions of dollars’ worth of physical property and bank account assets in the course of several drug investigations, particularly those involving established criminal networks, the identification and freezing of over $1.5million of cryptocurrency in these circumstances highlights the current digital environment in which law enforcement agencies must operate.

“Using the latest technologies and digital forensic techniques we thoroughly investigate all possible methods of holding financial assets, and will target all forms of wealth that may be derived from the illicit drug trade.

“The ongoing partnerships between state and Commonwealth law enforcement agencies continue to provide WA Police Force with new intelligence and new lines of investigation to act on.”

The ABF’s Regional Commander for WA Rod O’Donnell said officers at the Perth Gateway Facility utilising x-ray and trace detection technology were seizing multiple small concealments of illicit drugs in the mail stream every day.

“Every single gram of drugs we seize means one less hit that could potentially ruin someone’s life and the lives of those around them,” Commander O’Donnell said.

“Our officers are awake to the many creative methods criminals try to import these dangerous drugs, and they will continue to do everything they can to stop them at the border.

“This is another example of how the collaborative efforts of the ABF and its State and Federal law enforcement partners are protecting the community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.